Wurld Series: The Giant’s Lawn [Album Review]

Wurld Series
The Giant’s Lawn
Meritorio Records [2023]

The Fire Note headphone approved

Wurld Series hails from Christchurch, New Zealand, and The Giant’s Lawn is the group’s third LP. The history of that region is indie lore, with bands such as The Clean, The Chills, and other associated groups with the Flying Nun record label creating a musical scene characterized by jangly guitars, DIY recording techniques, and a somewhat lo-fi aesthetic. Wurld Series has undoubtedly carried that torch on their previous records, including the excellent 2021 sophomore album What’s Growing, which leaned towards a Pavement-like American ’90s indie rock influence while also incorporating undertones of British psych-folk. This progression leads us to the even more expansive and risk-taking The Giant’s Lawn.

Wurld Series leverages their Christchurch roots and indie know-how to build and expand on The Giant’s Lawn. The group adopts a much more innovative approach to psychedelic pop, blending a kaleidoscope of sounds and influences into a cohesive and captivating whole. They venture into the Elephant Six arena, embrace some progressive rock fusion structures, and round out their sound with strategically placed noise pop. In comparison to their previous records, listeners will now encounter longer track runtimes, slower compositions, several instrumentals, and songs that feature small jams.

What I really like about this record is its unpredictability. At the end of the first side of this album, the instrumental, “A Private Life,” offers this peer out into the world from the porch feeling, complete with its soft guitar strumming and field recordings of a cat meowing and frogs croaking in the background. “Alive With Flies” is a crazy cool dramatic number that has an intense slower burn with its added saxophone, while some tracks evoke a Modest Mouse vibe with angular guitar riffs and unconventional chord progressions. Singer Luke Towart’s vocal delivery is distinctive, ranging from raw and yelping to more melodic and subdued. The band still excels when they go more indie rock, as heard in the catchy lo-fi “Lord Of Shelves,” the noisy “Queen’s Poisoner,” and the foot-tapping “Resplendent Fortress.”

The album is not just a collection of songs; it’s a cohesive narrative that unfolds gradually. While not necessarily a concept record, there are well-thought-out transitions between tracks that are seamless, creating a sense of continuity that enhances the album’s story. Despite its more experimental nature, the album maintains a pop sensibility that makes it accessible to a wide audience. The Giant’s Lawn is an ambitious work that might challenge past fans at first, but after several listens, it becomes easy to engage with the music on a deeper level. Wurld Series’ ability to blend avant-garde elements with indie rock on The Giant’s Lawn results in a timeless and captivating listening experience that only gets more enjoyable with every spin!

“Queen’s Poisoner” / “Lord Of Shelves” / “Alive With Flies”

Modest Mouse / The 3Ds / The Minders

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Thomas Wilde

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